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    Somali PM calls for tougher action against piracy

    AFP
    31.10.2008 - 13:51 | Son Güncelleme:

    Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein on Friday called for tougher action against the piracy off his country's coast that has choked commercial shipping.

    Armed pirates captured a Turkish operated bulk carrier with 20 sailors off the coast of Somalia, Turkish and Kenyan officials said Thursday, as Ankara sought NATO's help to free the vessel. 

    Although warships from U.S.-led Combined Maritime Force and NATO are patrolling waters off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, gangs are still attacking commercial freighters in the region.

    "Piracy should be eradicated by the involvement of all countries that are willing to help Somalia," Hussein told reporters in Nairobi.

    "My country is grateful to all those who have sent warships to Somali waters to fight piracy."

    Early this week, prerican Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, meeting in Nairobi, supported the use of force against pirates.

    According to the International Maritime Bureau, 77 ships have been attacked off Somalia since January, 31 were hijacked while 10 were still being held for ransom along with about 200 crew members.

    Pirates are rife and well organized in the area where Somalia’s northeastern tip juts into the Indian Ocean, preying on a key maritime route leading to the Suez Canal through which an estimated 30 percent of the worlds oil transits.

    In addition to coalition naval forces, NATO warships and ships and aircraft from several other nations have been deployed in the region to protect commercial shipping.

    Photo: AFP

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